Alstrom Point, Gunsight Butte and Padre Bay - Lake Powell, UT

Alstrom Point, Gunsight Butte and Padre Bay - Lake Powell, UT

Posted by Keith Peters on Jan 1st 2020

Alstrom Point offers one of the most dramatic views of Lake Powell.  It is at the intersection of Glen Canyon Recreation Area and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.  From this location you get a dramatic view of Gunsight Butte situated in Padre Bay with beautiful Navajo Mountain in the background.

Alstrom Point - Lake Powel - Utah

Alstrom Point - Lake Powel - UTAH (1409)

Gunsight Butte is the most prominent formation in Padre Bay. The top of the butte sits at 4,678 feet above sea level with the top 1000 feet rising out of the lake.  As the top of the butte dips in the middle with two prominent structures on each side, this looks like the back sight on a rifle, thus it's name.  In this photograph we have Navajo Mountain in this sight.

Getting There

With the combination of the red sandstone formations jetting out of the deep blue water, and ability to camp at the lake front at Lone Rock Beach (check out our earlier blog ) Lake Powell is one of our favorite places.  However, in the past for one reason or another - lack of time, bad road conditions (more on that later) we never seemed to be able to make it out to Alstrom Point.  So we decided that this time, we would make it a goal to make the drive.

The trip is 23 miles from Big Water Utah to Alstrom Point, and can be reached via a 4X4 high clearance vehicle, provided the road conditions are right. 

The first 17 miles is a graded gravel road, but you do need to cross the Pariah river.  Everything changes when you reach the Alstrom Point turn off.  From here you will encounter rock steps that your vehicle must climb, possible deep sand in dry conditions or deep mud in wet conditions and a stretch of exposed slip rock where the only trail markings are a few cairns along the way.  

Prior to making the drive it is always advisable to check in at the ranger station for the latest road conditions. Upon talking to the rangers, they made it clear that we had one day that would be suitable for this drive.  It had rained in the last week and there was a snow storm coming in later in the week.  They advised waiting till the last possible sunny day to allow the road to dry out a bit, but get out there and back prior to the snow storm.   

The day arrived and we were met with clear skis and plenty of sunshine.  The 23 mile trip took a little over 2.5 hours one way - we hope you agree it was worth the time and effort. 

Alstrom Point Panoramic - Lake Powel - Utah (1410)

Since we were at the lake during Thanksgiving week, the weather was cold and clear dipping into the 20s at night and the boat traffic on the lake was non-existent.  These were the perfect conditions for photographing this location. 

Written by Keith Peters

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